Pommes Boulangere and How to Up My Game

I wouldn’t say I’m a perfectionist because good luck with that.  No one is perfect!  But I really dislike not being really good at something.  Needless to say it leads to disappointment.  For example, you will never see me dancing and singing on stage.  That is reserved for the car and the kitchen.  I wish I was better at food photography.  It’s strange because with everything else I can come up with some very good photos but I struggle with food.  And plating.  I can paint, create, design most things.  Food?  There is a mind block.  Which is tricky when you have a food blog.

So imagine my envy when I came across Roger’s post for Pommes Boulangere.   Granted he made a career doing this but I saw his food pic of the ingredients and just went wow.  That is what I am looking to achieve.  I immediately put photography books and food photography books on my Christmas list.  This is my New Year’s resolution to improve in this area.  It’s in my head but doesn’t always translate.  Time to start thinking outside the box and just do it and practice.

And the recipe?  Had to try it.  I admit for the first time I was hesitant to blog about a recipe that someone else did because of the difference in the photography but this dish is so delicious it outweighed my concerns.

Preheat the oven 375F/190C.  Avoid the convection on this one.  I should have and you’ll see why below.

I finely chopped half an onion and thinly sliced about 1 1/2 cups of leeks.  I use the green parts all the time.  Lots of flavour and less waste.

pommes boulangere 1 2013

I took 3 potatoes and thinly sliced them.  Quite the task when you don’t have a mandolin but I managed.

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In a skillet melt 2T of butter and saute the leeks and onions until softened.

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Add a cup of homemade poultry stock.  I used our turkey stock for this.  Also add 1 cup of dry white wine and bring to a simmer.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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The recipe calls for fresh thyme but I didn’t have any as ours is currently buried in snow.  So I used some fresh sage we had on hand. After simmering for a couple of minutes add the potatoes.  Cook for 10-15 minutes covered.

Pommes boulangere 5 2013

Pour into a shallow baking dish.

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Bake until potatoes are cooked and golden with most of the liquid absorbed.  Here was my error in using convection.  It got crispy too fast so I switched to regular baking.  Covering would have helped as well.  Live and learn!

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This makes a wonderful side dish.

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I must say though if you can, make it a day or two ahead.  I found on the second and third day using up the leftovers that the flavours really melded together perfectly and it just got better and better.

20 thoughts on “Pommes Boulangere and How to Up My Game

  1. Your pommes boulangères sound delicious! I also try to use as much of the green part of the leek as possible, it does add so much flavor! And I love your addition of sage here, sage and potatoes… yummy! I hope you will enjoy learning more about (food) photography! Happy holidays!

  2. I can so identify with your food photography concerns — though I strive to do as well as you do. I start each “session” with the best of intentions but that is my dinner being photographed. I can go so long and then it’s dinner time and that’s the end of the shoot. If those books come with a photographer, I’m in! This is one beautiful dish and I bet it was delicious, too. Roger shares some fantastic recipes.s

  3. Virginia, this is a lovely side. I can just taste the flavors and I would much prefer reading a recipe and tasting the flavors than looking at a pretty photo and then being disappointed after reading the recipe. Also, professional photographers will tell you food photos are the hardest. On top of that, some dishes simply aren’t very photographic. I read your blog because I like the way you cook. Your photos are an added extra. They may not be professional but they are nice. They also depict your meal not some imaginary dining experience on props. I think you do very nicely feeding a family and from what I have seen they eat pretty darn good. I’m still awaiting a dinner invitation and I was even within 100 miles… 😉
    As an aside, Daniel is home for Christmas and while he can breathe better he still has a very poor sense of smell, unless, of course, it’s bacon. 😀 He gets out of the Coast Guard and leaves Maine in July 2014. He is now counting the days.

    • Thank you for such positive feedback. 🙂 Interesting on the bit that the pros say food photography is the hardest. That makes me feel better. And if you are in the area, I’ll cook. 🙂

      Glad that Daniel made it safely back to TX. Lucky him getting to smell bacon! Though the other day I could smell fresh baked bread. That was a nice treat.

  4. Virginia lovely recipe! And yes, food photography is the most difficult. I’ve learned the hard way, trial and error. I have several books on food photography and they gave some good advice. But nothing compares to practice and I’ve had more than enough practice and I still don’t always achieve the perfect picture. I will tell you however, Lighting is key. I photograph my pictures near a window with natural light and without the overhead lights on. Overhead lighting or lamps can make the food and picture look yellow. I practiced using that one technique and when I felt I’d gotten a good sense of lighting I moved on to other techniques. I’m still not great but I feel I give a better interpretation of my food now. And truly, we work so hard preparing our recipes it’s nice when we can feel just as great about our food photos. Please feel free to email me with any questions, I’m happy to help! Keep cooking and photographing! You’re doing a beautiful job and your blog is a pleasure to visit. Even though I rarely have a moment to visit. Lol!

    • Thanks so much for the advice! I do prefer natural light as well. I need to figure out how to recreate it at dinner time because by that time it’s dark. I need to keep practicing and then figure out what tools would work such as a light box. You take wonderful pictures as well so the practice paid off. I have room to grow but growth isn’t a bad thing. 🙂

  5. Virginia, thank you for sharing this lovely side dish recipe and a Merry Christmas to you. I am sure your new year resolution will come true. As much as we will always be unsatisfied with a less perfect food photo, one that reflects our personality is far more valuable 🙂 …..danny

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